When I arrived at Chagrin River Park today, my goal was to capture a few, say 10 or 12, sharp pictures of the birds and deer I see along the trail. The cardinals were happy to pose, and I was especially delighted with the handsome red-coated male who stood out in the snow-covered branches of the evergreen tree. They flew into the tree, I sprinkled a few peanuts, and all of us were pleased with the results.
And the cardinals weren’t the only birds I captured with my lens. There was this white-throated sparrow…
… the red-bellied woodpecker that rather comically stuck her head up from behind the fence post just in time to grab one of the last peanuts,
and at one point I interrupted a confrontation between a cardinal and a chickadee. The expression on the face of the chickadee makes me smile every time I look at it. The feisty little bird isn’t the least bit intimidated by the huge red one!
And then there was a herd of seven or eight deer. There was one medium sized buck along with quite a few does, and one of the does, a young one, was a dappled deer. You can see from the pictures that his coat is unique. I have no idea why, but it really makes him stand out in the crowd.
A young piebald deer
It was a beautiful day for a trail walk, and I am pleased that I got more than the 10 or 12 I had set as my goal for the day. To close this post, here is a beautiful young doe that posed in the late afternoon light. Thanks for joining me along the trail today. I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Keep your eyes on this space. You never know what we will see along the trail.
A new feature on my blog, the Photo Almanac (originally titled The Week in Review), will appear every week to highlight some of my favorite photos from the previous seven days. While many of them will have already been included in other posts throughout the week, some will make their first appearance in the weekly Almanac. This week I have categorized the selected photos and posted them in three separate galleries. You can click on any picture to open and scroll through the gallery.
Gallery one: Wildlife
As you know if you have been following my blog, I love being outdoors, and trail walking is one of my favorite activities. It is on the trails in local park that I usually take most of my photos. This week, after experiencing Northeast Ohio’s warmest December on record, things began to cool down. In midweek we had a few very pleasant days with temperatures in the forties and low fifties, but by the end of the week, they continued to drop. Happily (from my point of view) there was little snow or rain and not a lot of windy days either, so I headed out on the trails almost every day. My most exciting day on the trails this week involved a confrontation between a red-shouldered hawk and a hapless field mouse, but other critters made an appearance too. All the photos in this gallery were taken on trail walks in Chagrin River Park.
When colder weather came, the chickadees came looking for handouts.
And the deer came closer to the trails.
The lady cardinal showed off her colors.
This red-bellied woodpecker is arguably my favorite bird.
Tufted titmice are loaded with personality.
The doe and I had a staring contest, but I just wanted a good picture.
The white breasted nuthatch favored a LARGE peanut.
My most exciting capture of the week…
…was this red-shouldered hawk.
…And the hawk captured a field mouse for his lunch.
Gallery two: Landscapes
Although Chagrin River Park is my most frequently visited place for trail walking, Holden Arboretum is another favorite. At Chagrin River opportunities to observe and interact with birds and other wildlife are plentiful, while at the Arboretum there are seemingly endless trails and gardens, each with its own special beauty. I try to visit Holden at least once a week, and this week I was lucky to be able to enjoy it with my grandson Michael. Here are a few pictures from our visit on Thursday.
A brief pause before heading down the trail
By Blueberry Pond
Love that sky over Blueberry Pond.
View from the other side of the pond
The rhododendron garden will look very different in June.
Michael standing in the entrance to the wildflower garden
The willow tree in Lotus Pond is one of my favorites.
Trail through the wildflower garden
Another view of Blueberry Pond
Gallery Three: Fabulous Friday Faces
In December 2013, I screwed up my courage and began asking many of the strangers I encounter on the trails if I could take their picture for a special feature on my blog called Fabulous Friday Faces. Prior to that time, when I saw people I didn’t know, I would pass by with little more than a smile and a nod or brief “hello.” I was essentially a solitary walker and happy to be that way. I’m not sure what triggered my decision to change, but, however it happened, I began to pause, engage strangers in conversation, and ask them to pose for photo opps. It was difficult at first, but has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made as a photographer. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I have come to enjoy these brief encounters immensely. Of all the new people I have encountered, only one has refused the request to pose for my camera. Over time, I have learned a lot, met many fantastic people, and become much more connected with the world around me when I am on the trail. I keep an ongoing gallery of Fabulous Friday Faces and an explanation of the process here on my Smugmug site if you want to know more. Here are two new FF Faces that I added during my trail walks this week followed by a new photo of one of my earlier Fabulous Faces. One of the benefits of the FFF is the number of friends I’ve made. I repeatedly meet some of them in the park, and it’s always a great feeling to see them.
That’s it for this week’s edition of the Photo Almanac. If you have enjoyed this new feature, I would love to hear your comments.
I encountered this week’s Fabulous Friday Face when I made my fourth climb to the top of the Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum on Thursday. I should have posted it on Friday, so I am a day late. Where does the time go anyway? There’s always a volunteer on duty at the top of the Tower, and that’s where Bob was stationed this week. In our very short conversation, he listed four or five states where he has lived. Didn’t like Florida, not at all, but apparently would move back to Colorado at the drop of a pin. He would move there, if he only could, with his deceased wife. Then he would be living in his favorite place with the love of his life. Meanwhile, he is living in Ohio and doing a terrific job of volunteering at the Arboretum, chatting up the visitors and taking photos of people who hand over their cameras to record the memorable moment. Well done, Bob. And thanks for being my Fabulous Friday Face.